SACRAMENTO, CA—Martin Wayne Flanders, 48, and Ligia Sandoval Spafford, 46, of Roseville, were arrested today on a complaint charging them with orchestrating a fraud scheme targeting distressed homeowners, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Flanders was also charged with conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud for filing sham bankruptcy petitions as part of the fraud scheme. The complaint was filed in Sacramento on September 28, 2012, and unsealed after the arrest today. Flanders and Sandoval are expected to make their initial appearances in court today in Sacramento at 2:00 p.m.
According to court documents, Flanders charged clients advance fees in exchange for a number of financial services, including loan modifications, mortgage loan audits, credit repair, debt relief, bankruptcy filings, and a program to sell homes to “investors” with a rent-to-own option. Flanders and Sandoval marketed these services to economically distressed homeowners with particular emphasis on those who were Spanish-speakers. During a radio program aired twice weekly by a Bay Area Spanish-language Christian radio station, Radio Luz, Sandoval promoted the services she and Flanders offered. Flanders also advertised on a Spanish-language television station, Univision, and in Spanish-language magazines. About 98 percent of Flanders’s and Sandoval’s clients were of Hispanic descent, some of whom spoke little to no English. Sandoval speaks Spanish; Flanders does not.
The investigation to date has identified 25 to 30 individuals who paid for services and did not receive them for a total loss of approximately $120,000. Some homeowners who were not able to obtain relief were foreclosed upon by their lenders.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Todd A. Pickles is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, they face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud charges, and Flanders faces up to five years in prison for bankruptcy fraud. The actual sentences, if convicted, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The allegations in the indictment are mere accusations, and all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.